Born to Fight (UK - BD RB)
Marcus watches The Karate Kid, but this time with boxing and Steve Austin. Yay.
Born to Fight (or US title Knockout) tells the tale of new kid Matthew Miller (Daniel Magder) arriving in a new town and within days of starting his new school, getting picked on by the bullies. When the school janitor Dan Barnes (Steve Austin), a retired boxer by the way, sees the boy's troubles he takes him under his wing and teaches him some mad boxing skills - helping him towards a tournament against the head bully who is also the local boxing champion. Y’know, exactly the same as in The Karate Kid but with boxing.
If this was the first time I’d ever seen this run-of-the-mill teen sports movie Born to Fight might have just passed as a winner but with the similarities so damn close to The Karate Kid it was hard to take this one seriously. With Steve Austin playing Mr Miyagi pretty well and the lead kid doing his best Daniel-san everything just goes through the motions all the way up to the predictable final fight where Matthew hasn’t got a chance of winning. However as we all know, through the family support he’s earned with his enthusiasm for the sport and some keen tactics and training from his new mentor our new kid gets his moment in the sun like we all knew he would from the first bullying scene and this all wraps up pretty safe and feel good.
It’s hard to be mean about a movie when it’s got as good a heart as this one but it’s of little surprise that this one skipped a big screen release and wound up direct to home release. Outside of its sort of star Steve Austin, who actually does a pretty good job with the little he has to work with, this one is so middle of the road it hurts. It stops being a movie and becomes a checklist of things to get out of the way before the credits roll. You know every beat that’s coming, they arrive and are usually more flaccid than you thought they’d be. The movie throws the odd small twist at us but only the generic ones, adding to the roll of the eyes count and the only thing that would have made this movie more twee is if a Justin Bieber song had broken out in the credits.
With a clean and fresh image that wouldn’t look out of place on mid-afternoon TV, Born to Fight looks pretty good. Its low budget holds it back from looking anything more than a made for TV movie but that said the image is grain free, has natural colours, has a strong level of detail and while it’s a little soft in areas and doesn't really have many colours to show off, that doesn’t stop it from being a strong HD presentation. Black levels are a little lacking but the bright and safe nature of the story doesn’t really leave much room for dark scenes anyway so it’s nothing that missed.
The audio track here is a mixture of clear dialogue and a so mediocre it hurts score. All of this is presented well but both areas stick to their sections - dialogue in the front, score in the back. The score, though dull and uninteresting is quite lively and has little nuances that dance around the rear speakers with a bit of power from time to time. There’s the odd bit of ambience in the gym scenes with boxers sparring and punch bags being thumped. The boxing match in the finale (that doesn’t have anyone sweeping any legs) is a bit fuller but you can hear the individual yelps from the crowd quite well and makes the thin crowd feel a little fuller. There’s a bit more bass in the punches and the score gets a bit more power but this one doesn’t punch above its weight.
The only extra we get is the trailer (01:38 HD) and honestly at ninety seconds you get the entire film and it makes for a more pleasing watch as it’s over so quickly.
If you’ve seen any of The Karate Kid movies you probably don’t need to ever see Born to Fight. Outside of it being a different sport, this is exactly the same movie just without the memorable characters or any sort of realistic drama and a total lack of dramatic climax that hits the right spot. The disc looks clean and pretty, the audio is strong but bland and with only a trailer on the extras you might want to wait for the inevitable Saturday afternoon TV broadcast for this one because this is where should live really.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 3rd October 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Anne Wheeler
Cast: Steve Austin, Daniel Magder
Genre: Action, Drama and Family
Length: 94 minutes
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